TI4-1009 wrote:I was listening to the 1969 Fillmore West (Live Dead) run yesterday and enjoying the "variable hair" on Jerrys SG sound. Pretty sure he didn't have a pedal at that point (correct?), so it was coming from the guitar/amp combination. Was interesting in light of the sounds I get from my "new" SG- The humbuckers can be crystal clear, hairy, or dirty just depending upon volume and attack. I obviously knew that before, having guitars with single coils and humbuckers, but I was surprised how easy it was to come close to "that sound" with the SG.
I think we tend to go for and build guitars that shoot for the very clear area of Jerry's playing- what he moved into more after the SG (think split middle Super Distortion), and with those we have to add dirt with pedals to try and go back to the 68-70 sound. I have just been surprised how easy it is to get that sound with the guitar he was using at the time (duh!).
For the most part, I think you're right. In '67 gibson would have been putting T-tops in them which were a relatively consistent lower wind version of the humbucker. For his '61 LP SG, the pick ups were heading towards more consistency, but much like the 58/59/60 humbuckers varied quite a bit because of two things... when they ran out of alnico 2 they used others... and the wire windings varied as well. They didn't fully realize the impact of those variances on really really loudly amplified guitars.
Putting modern burstuckers aren't going to get you your all that close.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the SG guitar itself is only a part of getting that sound. That it is a flat mahogany plank demands that we pay extra attention to the pickups.